Vancouver Hockey Centennial
Played on ice, steel blades cut into ribbons, wooden sticks and a lone puck. It is a game where legends are born and dynasties are made.
An enterprise that requires those of vision, forethought and a keen understanding of the aspirations of it's fans. It demands and gives loyalty and respect, while providing an insight into a world of camaraderie and true sportsmanship. All a part of this game we play, this game we love, this game called hockey.
The Florida Panthers are a full fledged part of this game. Members of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League. They call Sunrise, Florida home and play at the BankAtlantic Center. The most Southern member of the NHL. The Florida Panthers were established in 1993 with a dream
and a determination to the game of hockey and to the fierce loyalty of the fans. With six of her alumni in the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Florida Panthers are true beneficiaries of the builders of hockey, of a great legacy of hockey.
They are beneficiaries of a dream and of those who dared to make the dream come true. The Florida Panthers are keenly aware of this legacy, of this dream. Aware of the roots of hockey and those that came before .
As many other members of the NHL, The Panthers pay tribute to the city of Vancouver. To a century of excellence and contribution to the sport of hockey, to the fathers of the dream, Frank and Lester Patrick – pioneers and builders of the game that holds a nations heart.
To one of the greatest stories ever told in sport, whose contribution created the game we play today. The Patrick brothers had played hockey at McGill University in Montreal, and Lester had also played for the Montreal Wanderers. He became the very first defenseman ever to score a goal. They were also pioneers in the establishment of Women's hockey, founders of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, they became known as the ''brains of hockey.
Building the sport to its most brilliant and breathtaking level, their vision and courage created the game we play today. The face of hockey is their contribution. They introduced the twenty two rules that have created the game, the sixty minute game being divided into three twenty minute periods, the first team system in hockey, as well as the playoff series, the blue line, forward passing, the penalty shot, and numbers on sweaters so fans could identify the players.
The Patrick brothers also gave us the practice of a defenseman bringing the puck up the ice, the goal assist, substitution of players while the game was being played, allowing a goaltender to fall to the ice to make a save, the gesture of raising the stick when a goal was being scored, and eventually allowing a team to dress two goaltenders before a game.
The Patrick brothers along with their father Joe sold their prosperous sawmill business to single handily establish and finance three West Coast Teams. The Victoria Senators, The New Westminster Royals and The Vancouver Millionaires, so called because of the high salaries the brothers were willing to pay to have the best talent re-establish themselves on the West Coast.
The brothers financed their own arena – the Denman Arena. Vancouver's climate necessitated playing on the first artificial ice rink in Canada, in a city where most people had never seen a hockey game or had any knowledge of the sport. The odds against them were immeasurable. Teams had to travel for days by train just to play a game, yet the Vancouver Millionaires would go on to play for the Stanley Cup five times and win the Stanley Cup in 1915. They lived the dream. The New Jersey Devils are proud beneficiaries of their dream.
The Florida Panthers are proud to play the game that is the legacy of so many who came before.
The Centennial of the birth of professional hockey in Vancouver is also the Centennial of the expansion of hockey to become a North American sport we love and play today. Frank and Lester Patrick had a dream and the courage to pursue it. We are all the beneficiaries of their dream. They exhibited imagination, initiative, and integrity. We honor the Patrick brothers – the builders of hockey.
Please join The Florida Panthers in celebrating this hockey milestone.